Ever wonder what it would be like to have a “Me” convention?
Imagine if everyone that ever knew you in your life were gathered into the same hotel ballroom. All the feet that walked beside you through all the various stages of your life would mill around on the very same field of paisley carpet. All the voices that ever filled your ears — whisperers of secrets, promisers of love, bearers of betrayal, midnight gigglers, comforting shooshers, hateful adolescent teasers, scornful superiors. All the faces to which you’ve smiled, smirked, sneered, batted eyelashes, and silently stared. All of the hands you’ve held, hugs you’ve welcomed, slaps you’ve suffered, kisses you’ve cherished, and shoulders you’ve felt coldly turn. All of these reflections of you would stand, beneath one garish, over-sized chandelier, together.
Have you ever wondered what would they think? What would they say to each other in those moments before you enter the room, revealing their connection?
What if that girl from your college classes described “you” to your old grade school boyfriend? Would he believe it was the same you?
What if your boss listened to your lab partner from high school chemistry class? Would they ever recognize the person being described?
What if your best friend told all your old secrets to your partner at work? Would they still sit quietly at their desk, sipping their Starbucks and checking email with you on Monday morning?
What if your child’s teacher talked about you to your brother? Would he smile silently and think, “I know that girl, too”?
Have you ever been the fly on the wall, watching yourself morph from the intelligent professional, pushing herself to grow and improve; to the harried mother, toting groceries and wrangling children; to the wily woman, wielding herself through the world with skill and daring? Have you ever observed these transformations and marveled at your versatility?
How could it be that I can have so many selves? Is one more “me” than the other?
This is not to be confused with the id, the ego, and the superego. Nor are these various selves just stages…I laugh at my picky eater who, in one moment skoffs at cheese, and the next is scooping handfuls to top her chili. I chuckle when my fickle babe swears off long skirts, only to raid her sister’s closet in search of that very thing. This, though, of which I speak… is much more than that.
How is it possible that we can carry on entire relationships with hundreds of various people, and each of them can create their own version of you? While, yes, it is true that, in part, they have designer’s rights and sculpt the “You” that they know like putty in their mind. But it is not entirely a result of their perception. In so many ways, you teach them how to define you.
I’m believing more and more that we choose friends and acquaintances by what pieces of us we see in their eyes.
With you, I am smart.
With you, I am bold.
With you, I am funny.
With you, I am kind.
With you, I am charming.
With you, I am eloquent.
With you, I am an achiever.
With you, I am safe.
With you, I’m desirable.
With you, I’m strong.
With you, I am me.
I suppose this is what we’re hoping for. One true, complete reflection. Like mirrors stacked upon mirrors.
This is not a quest for self. This is a quest for reflection of self. This is the pursuit of complexity. This is me, wearing white gloves as I handle my “self”, so as not to tarnish the sheen.